I loved to read when I was a kid. There was always a book under my nose and I was called Bookworm alot. This was shortened to Bookie in high school which stuck. I don’t really talk to high school classmates any more but if I do encounter one, there is a 50% chance I will be greeted with “Bookie!” as opposed to “Danielle!”.
Whilst I often hated the nickname, which was not exactly used in the most endearing way, I truly identified as a book person. Books were my one love and my savior.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, they were lost.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a large book shelf and identified reading as one of my main ‘interests’ if ever anyone asked, but between discovering boys and parties, and then deciding to go to university, the love of reading became buried. I distinctly recall, through my entire university experience, decrying the tragedy that was my lack of readerly time. If I had a moment to spare to read anything the only, and I mean ONLY option was to pick up an assigned reading for one of my social science or business courses and get cracking. Even with such commitment I never got through them all. With the exception of the Harry Potter series for four years I basically read nothing but university texts. It was truly disheartening, particularly when I realised that said texts took up a huge chunk of my book shelves.
By the time I had emerged from uni and into a world of potential time to spare, the internet had exploded. I had Facebook and I had a hectic schedule in my new job, and books and I remained estranged.
Just over a year ago I made some tough choices. I left I high paying job that was constantly dragging me back to Sydney and ruining my routine and lifestyle, and took up an entry level role in my hometown which paid the bills and little more.
I have never been happier. My job is straight forward and non-intrusive. I have brain cells left at the end of the day. I have endless free time around a structured routine to facilitate said free time. I now regularly exercise, volunteer once a week, and have taken up sewing as a hobby.
I also have time to read again, and potentially write my novel.
My boyfriend, at my not-so-subtle nudging (“This one please?”), bought me a Kindle last Christmas. I loaded it up and was ready to go, but for a good chunk of this year just couldn’t make it happen. New found freedom meant I had over crammed my free time and there was always something new to do! I certainly was NOT getting any writing done, and reading was a slow crawl and a slink back to the safe comfort of re-reading Harry Potter.
But recently, something special has slowly blossomed. I signed on for Goodreads a few months ago, once establishing that the Facebook request from a friend was not spam or a game (kudos to me for FB scepticism), I signed up, plugged a bunch of books I already had into and just let it sit. Then the other week, I’m not sure what switched, but I just started reading again and decided to track my progress on Goodreads, logging my percentage after EVERY reading session.
Not only am I reading again, but I am reading multiple books at once, something I was never really good at. And I am enjoying EVERY minute of it, reading on my Kindle in my lunch break and hard copy books in bed, switching off the TV to read on the couch and reading whilst doing any form of waiting. The tracking of progress is helping SO much. I have this odd sense that I will let someone down if I don’t show steady progress (I am thinking that someone is me), and the result (me reading more often) is helping me to relearn the habit of picking up a book, and helping me to retrain my focus, an ability which had gotten lost in 5 years of social media and internet news.
Not only am I finding this exciting and fun and like I have returned to one of my true passions, but a side bonus is that I really feel my lack of focus and commitment to writing my novel has alot to do with the fact that I feel a bit like a fraud. Genuine, quality authors read widely and this shows in their work. I do not want to be one of those authors who hardly ever picks up a book, and don’t think I could be, hence my trouble picking up a pen.
Well no more! I have, in many ways, pushed my writing aside even further to take time out to read. And for the next little while I am going to continue to do so. I know that before long, when I am reading the way I used to, the urge to pick up the pen will come naturally and a novel will pour out. I just have to be patient for a little while longer.
One the reading list at the moment, across Kindle and hard copy (with percentages read!):
- The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan (27%)
- The Best of Catherine Caffeinated: Catherine infused self publishing advice by Catherine Ryan Howard (14%)
- How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C Foster (14%)
- Biology for Dummies by Donna Rae Siegfried (11%)
- The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven (2%)
- Ulysses by James Joyce (about 4 pages)
Feel free to add me on Goodreads! goodreads.com/daniellehere